What to Expect during Your Hospital Stay

Mother and Newborn-friendly Care

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) is committed to creating an environment that encourages breastfeeding, which provides the optimal nutrition for newborns.

We understand each mother makes many informed choices about the care of her newborn, and we respect these individual decisions. We understand that not every mother will breastfeed and we will support the choices and needs of each mother and her newborn.

In addition to offering breastfeeding support and education, we have implemented the following practices to help mothers successfully breastfeed: rooming-in, skin-to-skin contact, and limiting pacifier use.

Also, all of our new moms will continue to have our newborn nursery available to them and their babies as needed.


We are encouraging mothers to maximize time spent with their newborns. Keeping your baby in your room also provides the following benefits for you and your baby:

  • Babies who stay in the room with their mothers cry less often, sleep more, breastfeed better and longer, gain more weight each day, and are less likely to become jaundiced.
  • When your baby stays in your room with you all the time, you learn how to understand your baby’s cues more quickly.

At BWH we work with each expectant mother on her birth plan, including care for her newborn. While we encourage breastfeeding for optimal nutrition, we respect each mother’s choice and needs on infant feeding.

Skin-to-skin Contact

With skin-to-skin contact, your baby will be placed directly against your chest. Skin-to-skin contact should be practiced immediately after birth for at least one hour and then as frequently as possible thereafter. Skin-to-skin contact is also possible and should be done after a cesarean delivery. Babies who have skin-to-skin contact generally have better breastfeeding success. They may also be calmer, have better blood sugar levels, improved respiratory rates and healthier body temperatures than babies who do not receive skin-to-skin contact. Your partner can do skin-to-skin contact as well.


While Brigham and Women’s Hospital does not routinely provide pacifiers for breastfeeding newborns, parents that choose to use a pacifier for their baby may ask for one.

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding pacifier use are listed below:

  • For breastfed infants, delay pacifier introduction until breastfeeding has been firmly established, usually by 3-4 weeks of age.
  • Pacifiers should not be hung around an infant’s neck. Pacifiers that are not attached to infant clothing should not be used with sleeping infants.
  • Objects such as stuffed toys, which might present a suffocation or choking risk, should not be attached to pacifiers.
  • The pacifier should be used when placing the infant down for sleep and not reinserted once the infant falls asleep. If the infant refuses the pacifier, he or she should not be forced to take it.

Learn more about Brigham and Women's Hospital

For over a century, a leader in patient care, medical education and research, with expertise in virtually every specialty of medicine and surgery.

About BWH